31 January 2012
It’s official. The Islanders are headed to Brooklyn, well for one game at least.
The team announced earlier today that they will play a preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, on October 2, at the Barclays Center. The game will be the first NHL contest to take place in the New York City Borough. Presumable, it will also be the first sporting event to take place at the state of the art arena.
“We’re extremely excited to play the first NHL game in the new, state-of-the-art Barclays Center,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We already have some of the most passionate fans in the league supporting our young team, and we are looking forward to expanding our base into Brooklyn.”
The announcement confirms a WFAN report that came out earlier this month.
“We feel Brooklyn is an untapped hockey market that offers the Islanders with an exciting opportunity to grow its fan base,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said in a statement. “Barclays Center will also afford current Islander fans with great accessibility, as the Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines will come directly to the arena at the Atlantic Terminal transit hub.”
Yormark, who is the brother of Florida Panthers President Michael Yormark, told Newsday’s Arthur Staple, "It will be good for the Islanders to see what playing in a state of the art venue feels like."
Nassau Coliseum has not been a state of the art arena since it opened back in 1972 and has only become more dilapidated as time has progressed. Continues problems such as leaks and outdoor weather conditions affecting the building have been continuous problems.
Newsday’s Randi marshal quoted Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano as saying, “I hope their experience in Brooklyn reaffirms why they should be playing hockey in Nassau County.”
It’s hard to say that the Islanders have felt the love from Nassau County over the past few years. Repeated attempts to get approval for Charles Wang’s Lighthouse Project fell apart due to town politics and Nassau voters rejected a referendum, this past summer, that would have allowed the county to borrow $350 million to build a new arena.
Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President, is excited to have the Islanders in his borough, even it is for just one night, and hopes to show why Brooklyn would be the perfect place for the Isles to call home.
“I am thrilled that the Islanders and the Devils will be facing off on center ice at the new Barclays Center,” He told Islanders Hockey Blog via email. “I hope it sends a clear message to Islanders owner Charles Wang that Brooklyn is the only place they should consider moving the team—and put everyplace else on ice. As I have said over and over again, the Islanders belong in Brooklyn, we’ve got lots of hockey fans and we can even let them keep their name, since we’re physically part of Long Island. And I stand by my promise that if they come here, I will personally take the first spin in the Zamboni.”
(Will have more as the story develops, but leave your thoughts on this latest development. Would moving the Islanders to Brooklyn work?)